Back in June, Apple CEO Tim Cook talked a little bit about HealthKit, a new platform that it hopes will help users to better track their health statistics. No big deal, right? A lot of apps already do that. But what’s different about HealthKit is that Apple is also going to allow for data transmission between users and healthcare providers so that you and your doctor can share information. Now, Reuters is reporting that Apple is talking to several medical centres about HealthKit.
Reuters cites those ever knowledgeable “people people familiar with the matter” that say Apple is in talks with multiple medical clinics. This includes health providers at Mount Sinai, Cleveland Clinic and John Hopkins as well as health record technology company Allscripts. Though Apple never comments on rumors or reports like this, the Cleveland Clinic did confirm to Reuters that it’s testing an early version of HealthKit and providing Apple with feedback.
Apple hasn’t really gone into huge detail about HealthKit and its plans for the application, but (as Reuters points out) the fact that the company is talking to medical professionals, academics, and other companies in the healthcare industry shows that Apple is serious about creating not just a gimmicky, recreational fitness platform but a serious application for monitoring your health.
Of course, Apple is a company that operates on a for-profit basis, and it’s not doing this out of the goodness of its own heart. The company sees a gap in the healthcare market for a centralized health records system and it seems to be at least considering the possibility that it may one day be able to provide that. However, users still have worry about the fact that they’re going to have to share their health data with a third party to avail of the convenience, and doctors have to be comfortable with sending information to you in the opposite direction.
As if that alone weren’t a big enough hurdle to successfully navigate, the company also has to try and do all of this while complying with all appropriate regulations, which won’t be easy either. The situation, if Apple can pull it off, comes down to how much you value your data and your privacy, and how much you’re willing to compromise for the convenience and benefits of a service likes this.
Regardless, HealthKit will be integrated into iOS 8 when it launches later this year, though we don’t expect what we see later this year to be the finished product. It’s likely the app will look a lot like the current health and fitness apps available today with more functionality to come over time, as Apple navigates the mine field that is consumer privacy and healthcare regulations.